Dimapur: The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) said today that it is badly perturbed by the “thick cloud of uncertainties being cast over the fate of the political negotiations between the Government of India and the two groups of the Naga political negotiators, namely, NSCN-IM and the Working Committee (WC) of 7 NNPGs despite the peace process being in its 25th year.”
In a press statement, the NTC said that, as for the NSCN-IM, the ceasefire was signed with the Government of India in 1997 followed by the Framework Agreement signed on August 3, 2015, it has been in its silver jubilee year as in 2022. “And as for the WC of 7 NNPGs, the negotiation began in October, 2017 and signed the Agreed Position with the Government of India on the November 17, 2017 and now it is in its 5th year. “Against this backdrop, though the Government of India may or may not consider it to be a serious concern, the quarter of a century ‘peace process’ has immense toll on the lives of the citizens in Nagaland,” the NTC added.
The statement of the NTC then mentioned the Parliamentary Standing Committee report on both the Houses of Parliament vide Report No. 213 by quoting it: “Two hundred thirteen report security situation in the North Eastern states of India (presented to Rajya Sabha on July 19, 2018) (laid on the table of Lok Sabha on July 19, 2018).” The NTC said that the subject matter pertains to early conclusion of the peace talks. The NTC statement again quoted it “… The Committee therefore, strongly recommends that the Government should conclude the peace talks at the earliest based on a broad understanding over the most contentious issues…” However, according to the NTC, during the last five years, the Naga political issue could not come up for discussion in the Parliament. The NTC further said that the elected representatives, particularly from Nagaland in both the Houses of Parliament and in the State Assembly did take little interest to pursue the long cherished solution to the Naga political issue.
Once again, the NTC drew the attention of the Government of India to the prevailing environment in the State of Nagaland that the “inordinate delay of political solution has become the bane of the miseries of the common man in Nagaland.” The NTC further said that the general public in Nagaland have been the ultimate victims of the “unabated and multiple illegal taxations, all kinds of suppressive and anti-people activities of the selfish authorities and the armed elements alike under the signed ceasefires during the last 25 years have virtually destroyed everything both in public and private sectors.” According to the NTC, the worst victims are the educated youth and the tens of thousands of the school dropouts. “In fact, the State of Nagaland, the second oldest State in the NE India, has gone backward by 25 years in terms of progress and prosperity as proved by the progress of the other 9 years younger States in the NE have developed to become quotable model States in India,” it added.
The NTC then asked, “Why this stagnation and backwardness despite being funded lavishly by the Union Government?” It added, “Because, particularly all through these 25 years period of political negotiations, the unscrupulous elements have transformed the State of Nagaland into their private goldmines.” The NTC also said that these elements, both state authorities and armed elements, have taken undue advantages on the “gullible” general public and their facilities with vengeance. Thus, Nagaland was made to be the safest haven for the exploiters in India, it further added.
The NTC then said, “The above being the background, and knowing the plight of the people of the State well, the NTC has been vocal for the deliverance of Nagaland from totally getting perished.” The NTC also said that it is aware that the sole remedial measure for the existing ailment of Nagaland is the Naga political solution. The NTC expressed that it is apprehensive that the consequences of the further delay of solution or the fiasco will be disastrous.
The NTC then observed that both the Government of India and the UDA Government in Nagaland have apathetic and lackadaisical attitude towards sincere conclusion of the peace process “though the official negotiations were completed by October 31, 2019.” It added, “As a matter of fact, the Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, during his maiden visit to Nagaland on December 1, 2015 made the promise that the Naga political issue would be resolved within 18 months time has gone into oblivion”. The NTC further said that the Government of India has tendencies to be overwhelmed by the concocted assessments and disinformation fed by its agencies with ulterior motives. The NTC also added that no matter how BJP tries to be evasive about pacification of the public in Nagaland by the then BJP Secretary Ram Madhav in 2018 that the State election would be for solution has become a shameful betrayal. “Indeed, the Government of India had officially invited both the NSCN-IM and the Working Committee of NNPGs to negotiating tables. The Naga negotiators believed in the determination and sincerity of the Government of India and thus the processes of negotiations had already been successfully completed under the interlocutorship of Sri RN Ravi. Thus, definitely the ball is now in the court of the Government of India, and that, it is time for the Union Government to make it or unmake it without keeping the people of Nagaland in suspense any longer.”
In the meantime, the NTC said it felt aghast at the way the UDA Government of Nagaland state has been facilitating the peace process all through these years. The statement of Chingwang Konyak, president of NDPP, which appeared in local papers on August 11, 2022 that “….declared that they (MLAs) would not stand on the way for solution of the problem.” (from the concluding para) is vitiated. According to the NTC, the proof is that on July 16, 2022, the Political Core Committee on Naga Political Issue (PCCoNPI) adopted 4 points resolution which was widely circulated and published in the local media was found scuttled and allowed it to die a premature death. The NTC said that the reason for such sabotage was better known to the PCCoNPI. “It is obvious that the UDA government is hell bent against solution and the very resolution was too positive to pursue and therefore had to be shelved lest should it be furnished to Government of India, it would be considered to be a vital material for solution. Nevertheless, the UDA government knows that lest its anti-solution stance be camouflaged with theoretical and theatrical innuendos for solution, it would be costly in the long run.” Secondly, the NTC alleged that the Chief Minister of Nagaland focussing the next Assembly election to superimpose the urgent political solution is nothing but the ploy to demean the peaceful process. Thirdly, according to the NTC, the opinion of the NDPP president that the MLAs are to resign post the attainment of the agreement implies that the MLAs have refused to pave the way. “Thus, the activities of UDA government in Nagaland remained obvious that it frantically hobnobs with those forces- both armed and civil elements to derail solution is the greatest sabotage of peace and betrayal of the people in Nagaland,” it further alleged.
“Whatever the circumstances it may be,” the NTC urged upon the Government of India to resolve the issue at the earliest without inhibition. The NTC then assured that the people are ever ready to have the solution and also ever prepared to handle should there be any consequences.